Out and About => Events, Meets, and Ride Outs => Topic started by: Gazk on June 17, 2016, 05:27:15 PM

Title: Normandy 15~20/06/16
Post by: Gazk on June 17, 2016, 05:27:15 PM
Prologue: First off you don’t have to read this if you don’t have time, but if you have time grab a coffee.
Are you sitting comfortable? 

Then I’ll begin.

After something like 32 years behind the bars, I’ve only ever treated myself to two brand new bikes the first was a Kawasaki ZXR1200s back in 2001 on which we did just over 54,000 miles in 4 years the other is my new S1000XR. 

My bike owning history is long so I’ll not go into it but it’s safe to say I’ve had a few bikes.  The last few have been a BMW K1200s “20,000 miles in two years” then two K1300s about 10,000 miles each in two years then a F800st “meh just wanted something light” then moved to a Z1000xs on which we did just over 5,000 miles in about six months “great bike but the seat OMG uncomfortable is not the word”. 

We’ve done a lot of touring in Europe in the past 15 years, I’ve kept a journal of the trips mostly in Black and Red lined books, but as times have moved on I’ve started popping them into word and now on line. “Not sure which is better”.

Last month on the 21st of May I collected the S1000XR se Sport and did the 600 miles for the first service in just under two weeks. As we had pre booked a trip to Normandy on the bike here is my journal of our trip.

Ok you can come back now the prologue is over!

Day 1 (15/06/16)

Thanks to a very busy job I’d got some TOIL saved up so I had Wednesday off work, my partner on the other hand had to go in for the morning. This meant I could get on with cleaning and polishing the bike as we’d been to Skegness on Sunday “I’ve not been there for 15 years and it’s still the same” anyway two hours later all clean, shiny and packed up with the pans, top box and tank bag.

We leave home at 13:30 and head off to Seaford for the night in a cheap’ish B&B.  As it was torrential rain we headed down the M1 from Leicester round the M25 and then down the A22.  By the time we got to the A22 the sun had come out and the roads had dried out so we did some small winding roads. At this point I will say I reached a Zen like mind and was at one with bike. We arrived at the B&B just after 17:30.  A great trip down love the cruise control it’s an absolute must have for the 50 MPH road works bits. 

The bike was fantastic only one odd thing after a fill up, all the electrics blipped and the SatNav went into night mode and the clock on the dash was saying 11:11am, we pulled into a layby and did the IT fix all “switched it off and back on” fixed it, not sure why as long as it doesn’t happen again, not bothered.

B&B was ok had a meal out at a pub, the biggest handmade burgers I’ve seen this side of the Atlantic!
Title: Re: Normandy 15~20/06/16
Post by: Gazk on June 17, 2016, 05:31:32 PM
Day 2 (16/06/16)

The alarm was set for 06:00 “too early, look I work in an office 20 minutes from home and start at 09:00, so I tend to fall out of bed at 07:30 LOL”.  Packed the bike up and headed off to the port at Newhaven for the 09:00 ferry to Dieppe.  As we pull up, we meet a guy on a 1200gs, he’s off to Spain for some sun, another guy arrives and he’s off to Slovakia for 10 days, then two other guys one on a K13GT and the other on a S1000XR, they’re are off to the South of France for 10 days.  We all stand there telling biking stories and filling in time.  Now we’re on the Ferry and we leave on time for the 4 hour trip, more swapping old biking stories and notes on the XR.  The guy “Andy I think” only picked the bike up a few days ago, a pre loved BMW in white.  As we pull in at Dieppe we wish one and all Bon Route and go our separate ways. 

We make our way through Dieppe and grab some fuel a few miles later and then head to the apartment we’ve rented in Caen.  As the sun is out we stay off the A29 and stick to the D roads, we make good time and the riding is easy, it’s nice to see French villages as we make our way along the roads, however the sky darkens so we take the decision to stop and grab some supplies for night, just the essentials of life, de Vin, de pain, le beurre, des pates avec la source de tomates.  We make good time the last few miles despite the rush hour traffic, this is mainly due to the French being polite to bikes and getting out of the way we arrive at just after 17:00.
Title: Re: Normandy 15~20/06/16
Post by: Gazk on June 17, 2016, 05:34:59 PM
Day 3 (17/06/16)

We get up late 09:00 bumble around making coffee and having croissants.  We go into Caen town centre for a look around being the burial place of William the Conqueror and soaked up some of the culture.  We went for a little light refreshment being a glass of wine and sat about and watched the world go by,  just as it should be when you’re off work. 

After a few hours wandering around the city we have done most of the sights and head to the shops to get some fromage, jambon, de Pain et tortilla pour notre repas du soir.
Title: Re: Normandy 15~20/06/16
Post by: Gazk on June 19, 2016, 08:20:53 AM
Day 4 (18/06/16)

Today we’re off for a day out on the bike, we go and get some fuel and get going around 10am we head down the D8 to Aunay-sur-Odon then onto the D26 to Vire then onto the D524 to Villedieu-les-Poëles “famous for its brass pots and pans” we sit and have coffee for a while the sun is out and the weather is looking good.

From Villedieu-les-Poëles we head south down the D999 “If you want to know what the road is like watch the Tour De France on the 4th July” yes it’s a good bit of road leading into the D997 then the D177 yep all one road.  We get to Fougères then head down the D178 to Vitré where we stop for more coffee “well I had coffee my partner had a wine” We sit and watch the town market going about its business.  The weather has changed a little and the wind has picked up a bit and its cooler so we get going and head along the D57 past Laval, we start to head back North up the N162 then onto the D23 to Domfront as the weather started to look like it may rain we chopped a bit of the route.  As we sat having more coffee and wine we meet up with some other Brits on bikes had a quick chat and then headed off up the D962 to Flers then back up to Caen by way of the D962 having chopped about 50 miles off the original run due to it looking like it was going to rain “which it didn’t” we get back just before 6pm having done 266 miles.

Back in the apartment showers all round and sit and have sautéed potatoes and the last of the ham and cheese, quick and simple but as the apartment only has two cooking rings and a microwave cooking is a bit limited, still the fridge is well stocked with beer and wine ;-) 
Title: Re: Normandy 15~20/06/16
Post by: RichS1000XR on June 19, 2016, 08:47:47 AM
Nice report so far. Where are the pictures? We need lots of pictures of the bike, scenery, and of course, food!  :028: :008:
Title: Re: Normandy 15~20/06/16
Post by: Gazk on June 19, 2016, 05:43:33 PM
Day 5 (19/06/16)

I’m going to be up front, this is the third attempt I’ve had at this and what you read is not completely what I have written for my own personal journal as I have self-censored my first thoughts:

You may ask, why would I? 

Well, with all that is going on in the UK sometimes it’s better not to write down such frank thoughts.
Today is our last full day in France, so we decided not to do a big day out on the bike, we went up to Pegasus Bridge and Sword, Gold Beach, Omaha onto a couple of the cemeteries one of the most humbling places in France Normandy, The D-Day cemeteries which honour the Boys and Men that gave all to free Europe on all sides, there are heroes to be found.

If you have never been it’s not far from the UK and well worth it, even just to put into prospective everything you thought you know about the Second World War.  Until you see the beach you’ll never understand how much effort and bravery it must have taken for our forebears to have even taken part let alone want to.

“Freedom and unity are precious.”

Not many miles today just 80 or so, we did stop for Le Picnic at lunch.

I'll post some photos when I gat home.